Age differences in visual search for feature, conjunction, and triple-conjunction targets

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Humphrey, Darryl G.
Kramer, Arthur F.

Psychology and aging. 1997 Dec; 12(4): 704-17.


The authors examined the ability of younger and older adults to search for targets defined by single features (feature search), conjunctions of 2 features (conjunction search), and conjunctions of 3 features (triple-conjunction search). Feature search was relatively age-invariant, with both older and younger adults displaying shallow search slopes. However, older adults did show reduced search rates for many conjunction targets. Interestingly, both older and younger adults benefited equivalently when an extra feature was available to define the conjunction target. That is, the relative amount of improvement in search performance was similar for younger and older adults when the triple-conjunction search was compared to the conjunction search. These results are discussed in terms of age-related differences in the effectiveness of bottom-up and top-down mechanisms that support visual search.

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